The Buccaneers’ varsity football team proudly flaunted their new duds at last Friday’s team photo day, and they’re not the only Grand Haven athletic team to be decked out in new gear this fall.
That’s because the Grand Haven athletic department entered into a deal with Adidas. Grand Haven pledged to buy its jerseys almost exclusively from Adidas, and the athletic apparel giant will provide those uniforms for Buccaneer teams at a greatly reduced cost.
“Over the last couple years, it’s really been ramping up, and many of these different manufacturers are providing incentives,” said Grand Haven athletic director Robin Bye. “They offer different tings, and I felt it was important to maximize our athletic budget. No. 1, we can save money on uniforms and other equipment.”
Bye said he had offers from Russel Athletic, Under Armour, Nike and Champion, along with Adidas.
“The reason we chose Adidas is that they had overall what met our needs best as a program,” Bye said. “We had several teams that were already using Adidas products — boys basketball, girls basketball, track and cross country, both soccer teams. And of course, our football program has stepped up as well.”
Adidas doesn’t fit all 31 teams — they don’t provide the needed apparel for the equestrian team or the swim team, for example.
But for those teams that do buy Adidas uniforms, the savings are significant.
“We’re having an immediate savings on our uniforms,” Bye said. “It’s a three-year contract, and we have a stipend that we can purchase some materials from them, so where we may have used money in our budget for these items before, we don’t have to use that money now.”
Teams aren’t required to wear Adidas shoes, but an Adidas footwear specialist will come out and show off different offerings, which can be purchased for a deduced cost.
“Plus, some of the teams are doing some specialty items,” Bye said. “I know the football team did things, some receiver gloves, plus they got shirts, a little bit like Michigan does, undershirts that on the sleeves read ‘Bucs Pride.’
“It’s a win-win situation for both of us, the manufacturer and our school system.”
Bye said approximately 20 other schools in West Michigan, from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids to the Lakeshore, have entered into a similar agreement with Adidas, while other schools have done the same with other apparel companies.